How Can I Locate a Lost Term, Whole Universal, or High Risk Life Insurance Policy; by anamaulida


									                             You recall hearing an airline pilot friend
say she bought high-risk life insurance to help cover her children's
college fund, but she is now deceased, and no one knows who the
underwriter is. Or, a bereaved widow swears that even though her husband
had a whole life insurance policy (or was it a term life insurance
policy?), he also had a secondary, universal life insurance policy, but
he didn't leave any information about it in his will. Time and again, we
hear woeful tales of lost life insurance policies.In many such cases,
finding a missing policy could mean the difference between bankruptcy and
financial security. The grieving survivors are caught in a guessing game,
because, sadly, there is no comprehensive national or statewide database
that keeps track of life insurance and the
Insurance Information Institution (III) both recommend steps to take and
places to look.If you know who underwrote the deceased's health, business
or even child life insurance, then you've got a leg up. Contact that
company and ask.If the main insurer does not show a term life insurance
or whole life insurance policy (be sure to ask about lesser-known
policies, such as variable life insurance or no-load life insurance),
then contact past and present financial advisors, investment bankers,
insurance agents, attorneys, business partners or personal friends known
to offer financial advice.If none of that works, then contact former
employees, credit unions, trade groups or even automobile/roadside
assistance groups.Go through all files, safe deposit boxes, storage
units, attics, basements or secret nooks you can recall. Scour old
address books, bank and checkbook statements or old calendars that may
offer hints.If you have access to the deceased's previous life-insurance
applications or even a current, known policy, that information will help.
Any known policy should have the application attached to it--and that
will contain a list of other life insurance policies owned at the time of
the application.If you still cannot locate the policy, don't give up. The
Missing Policy Service of the American Council of Life Insurance, 1001
Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004-2599 will accept a written
request to help locate the policy. Include a self-addressed business size
envelope. They will distribute your request to nearly 100 large life
insurance companies in an effort to locate the lost policy.Keep in mind,
however, as Free Advice's "lost life insurance" columnists say, "without
knowing more information, there are several possibilities regarding the
status of a policy.... It could have lapsed, been cashed in, become a
"paid-up policy" or gone to the state as unclaimed assets.... In the
first three cases, the policy would no longer have any value. If it
became a paid-up policy, it could still have value, but with no company
name and no policy information, it becomes very difficult to track down.
If it were inadvertently taken by the state under the "escheat law"
(which applies when the insurer can't locate the owner), you may be able
to locate the proper branch of government to inquire. The state must
reimburse it if the money transferred under escheat.Another good
approach, Free Advice experts say, is to write to several of the largest
life-insurance underwriters directly with the deceased's name, address
and birth date. If you're lucky, they'll have something. If you're semi-
lucky, one of the companies may offer additional sleuthing suggestions.

To top